Archive for the ‘Landscape Photography’ Category

Patience & Persistence

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
Text & Photography By William Neill

Patience and persistence are words that are coming to my mind lately. These words are the answers to many questions I’ve heard recently. How did you make that image? How did you build your career? It is no surprise that these words are key traits needed to make great photographs or have a successful business. However, I know that many of us get caught up in the rush of life and the striving for making our next favorite image, that maybe we don’t slow down enough to get it right.

Dogwood Blossoms, Yosemite National Park, California 2019

As I write this, I am just finishing another spring season photographing in Yosemite. As you might expect, my new photographs are mostly of dogwoods and waterfalls. Having lived in or nearby Yosemite Valley for 40 years, it would be all too easy to become jaded or bored photographing the area for so long. However, whenever I go, I always find something amazing and wonderous to see and sometimes photograph. When sharing this beauty with my students, I can reengage with, and refresh, my long love affair with this sanctuary, this paradise. Although I’ve photographed these trees many times before, I am always trying to outdo myself, or at least equal my best work.

Many of my favorite dogwood trees grow along the banks of the Merced River. The combination of graceful blossoms and branches hanging over the swift waters of the Merced is irresistible for me. With a slow shutter speed, the river becomes smooth and simplified while the dogwoods stand out sharply in contrast. The quandary for the photographer is how to pick a shutter speed that is slow enough for the river to blur and still capture the blossoms in focus. To find the right balance requires some experimenting with your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. I time my visits for when the light is soft and without harsh highlights on the water.

Most importantly, getting it right takes time. Often, the branches are moving in the breeze, so I watch and wait, sometimes for an hour or more. I set up my camera to take three or five frames each time I release the shutter, to increase my odds. Out of several hundred dogwood images taken this spring, only a few were sharp enough—a low batting average of success, but well worth the effort and frustrations. Patience and persistence.

I also photographed the booming waterfalls this season, with my favorites being Horsetail, Upper Yosemite and Bridalveil Fall. This season I had several excellent sessions with Horsetail. My timing was chosen for backlighting, and, luckily, we arrived on windy days. Again, I made several hundred images of the fall over three different days. Again, my camera made five frames for each release. Each time the wind and light were different. Many of my captures were very good, but persistence was needed to catch the ultimate moment as the conditions kept changing. I would wait and observe as gusts of wind would swirl the spray around the cliffs. The action was too dynamic to guess which split-second would convey my excitement for what I was seeing. Once back home on my computer, I sorted and compared to find the very best one. I selected the image shown here for the pattern of mist blowing upward and sideways. I chose to convert this image to black-and-white to emphasize the graphic qualities of the lighting, the rocks and the bright spray being set off by a dark sky background.

 

Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019

There is a delicate balance of knowing when to dig in and keep working a scene or move on to find a better angle or another subject altogether. When I see a situation as I did for these two photographs, I might stay an hour or more in that spot, or I might return over many days to catch the right conditions or pursue an image idea over many years. When you find those exciting subjects, slow down and have the patience and concentration to wait for the right moments, like dogwood blossoms holding still or the wind blowing a waterfall in wild directions. When it seems like you’ve “got it,” persist further to work that composition to find multiple “optimum moments.” Your editing sessions might be more difficult, requiring you to pare down from many quality options, but in the end, you will be happy when you pick the best image that shows those small nuances that make a strong photo more exceptional. Patience and persistence.

My Favorite Photographs of 2019

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Greetings from the Sierra Nevada,

Happy New Year! I hope your year ahead is happy, healthy, and artistically productive!

I’ve always thought that tight editing was a prime skill for any photographer and that I was good at it. Well, this year, I’m proving that incorrect. I decided that since over the past year, I’ve made such a diverse range of imagery, I would show that range. My 2019 collection includes 60 photographs listed in chronological order. I am hoping that while seeing a fuller view of my visual explorations that somewhere while scrolling through my images you find an inspirational direction for your own art.

The primary motivation for me to photograph is to experience beauty, which is everywhere if we look for it. For example, the first image here was taken with my iPhone in Costco. Much of what I find is local, around my home like ice formed in a bucket on my patio, snow on the pines in my neighbor, trees in bloom in Fresno, and of course a few from Yosemite.

Many years ago, when I was involved with Ansel Adam’s workshops, I was fortunate to hear lectures by many master photographers.  One of them was Jerry Uelsmann (http://www.uelsmann.com/), who became a friend and mentor.  During his lectures, he would show his work from the past year.  Since his work involves compositing many images together, these images including variations he had tried, often with the same objects in different locations or scenes.  This overview revealed the progression of Jerry’s creative process during the year.  I always felt inspired when seeing many of his slide shows.  I often thought I should do this myself each year, in order to assess my year’s efforts, but never got around to it. So now I’ve been doing the annual review annually!

The process of self-assessment is a vital part of artistic growth.  In the day-to-day rush of life, we don’t often stop to see trends in our image-making.  By turning back the clock, we can see if we are stuck in a rut or made great progress.

I hope you will add your comments or favorites at the bottom of the page. You can add a link to your collection if you wish.

Kind regards, Bill

PS Click here to read my Outdoor Photographer essay on this subject written in 2010 entitled Best of the Year.

Best of 2014
Best of 2015

Best of 2016
Best of 2017
Best of 2018

 


Flowers, Fresno, California 2019
PureShot for iOS, iPhone XS Max back camera 4.25mm f/1.8,
1/60 second at f/1.8, ISO 50

 


Sierra Foothills, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Bracken Fern, 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/4 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Winter Oaks, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/200 second at f/14, ISO 800

 


Pines in snowstorm, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Ice, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
3.20 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Gnarled Oak, snowstorm, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/90 second at f/13, ISO 800

 


Vernal Pool, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/10 second at f/6.3, ISO 100

 


Spring foothills, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Oak woodlands, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Moonrise and oak woodlands, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Creosote patterns, Ahwanhee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/15 second at f/6.3, ISO 100

 


Ice and stones, Ahwanhee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1.50 second at f/19, ISO 100

 


Pear blossoms, Fresno, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/640 second at f/11, ISO 1600

 


Spring Blossoms, 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/250 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/18, ISO 400

 


Dawn Surf, Point Pinos, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
30 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Cypress trees in fog, Pacific Grove, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Pfeiffer Arch, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
8 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1000 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Moon over Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/25 second at f/5.6, ISO 400

 


Dogwood, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Dogwood Blossoms, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Dogwood along the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Spring sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 200

 


Waterfall and Mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/7.1, ISO 200

 


Lupine, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/4 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Farewell to Spring Blossoms, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/8 second at f/13, ISO 100

 


California Poppies, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/13 second at f/9, ISO 100

 


Hydrangea, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
4 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Ridges, Mt Tamalpais State Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/125 second at f/16, ISO 200

 


Sequoias, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Sequoia trees, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/10, ISO 100

 


Ripples, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/400 second at f/2.5, ISO 100

 


Abalone Shell and Bubbles, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Abalone Shell and Bubbles #2, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Ripples, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/3200 second at f/5, ISO 1600

 


Patterns #1, Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/640 second at f/8, ISO 200

 


Patterns #4, Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/320 second at f/11, ISO 200

 


Ripples, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/9, ISO 1250


Cottonwoods and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/25 second at f/18, ISO 400

 


Clearing Storm, Santa Rosa Wilderness, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/400 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Clearing Storm, Santa Rosa Wilderness, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/400 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods and mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods impressions, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Pine Forest, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
4 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Steaming Mist and Pine, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/80 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Cattails, San Juaquin Valley, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/5000 second at f/5.6, ISO 6400

 


Grasses reflected, San Juaquin Valley, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/4000 second at f/6.3, ISO 6400

 

SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8000 second at f/7.1, ISO 6400

 


Sword Ferns, Sehome Hill, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
2 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Sword Ferns, Sehome Hill, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/13 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Alder Forest, Arroyo Canyon, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Alder Forest, Arroyo Canyon, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1.60 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Whatcom Falls, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/13, ISO 200

 


Whatcom Falls, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/20, ISO 200

 


Whatcom Creek, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/18, ISO 100

 

Happy Holidays and a Merry New Year!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

Best wishes to you all for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you for following my photography,

William Neill

 

 

ANSEL ADAMS GALLERY EXHIBIT: LIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE November 17th – January 4th

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

Spring storm, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 1986

 

Aspen in winter, Conway Summit, Inyo National Forest, 1995

PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBIT: LIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE
November 17th – January 4th

Since 1983, when Ansel approved my work for sale in his gallery, I have been exhibiting my fine art prints there. This has been a great honor for me, with 15+ shows over those many years. I’ve chosen this exhibit’s title to be Light On The Landscape as it is also the title of my forthcoming book by the same name. You can read more about the book below.

Starting soon after the first of the year, a pre-order sale of a limited number of signed hardbound editions will be made available by the publisher Rocky Nook on their website. I will be offering some form of deluxe edition for direct sale only. Softbound is expected to be $45 and the hardbound $55. I will announce the details when the pre-order is launched so stay tuned to my social media or sign up for my occasional newsletter HERE.

I will be attending the opening reception to be held on Saturday, November 23rd from 1-3 pm.

Kind regards, William Neill

FROM THE GALLERY:
In 1977, photographer William Neill found his life’s path when he moved to Yosemite to work for the National Park Service. Not long after this, he began working at The Ansel Adams Gallery as a staff photographer, teaching visitors all he could about the art form and the place that he loved. Mr. Neill has said that: “Perhaps one of the greatest joys of being a photographer to me is to see the light on the landscape, seeing its daily cycles change with each season and shift with each day’s weather. I revel in the light. I am its disciple.” While other itinerant interests would take him on adventures far and wide, from the American Southwest to the Himalaya to Antarctica, he would make Yosemite his home.

His life in photography has been an amazing journey as witnessed by the incredible and intimate imagery that has resulted, as well as the numerous books and articles written in the process. Between November 17th, 2019 and January 4th, 2020, The Ansel Adams Gallery will be exhibiting “Light on the Landscape – Photographs by William Neill” featuring work made throughout an illustrious career.

A reception with the artist will be held on Saturday, November 23rd from 1-3 pm, on what will no doubt be a beautiful autumn day in the park!

Impressions of Light

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

Create Artistic Blurs In-Camera
Tips for achieving a painterly effect with subtle camera movements

Alders, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington 2006

 

Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California 2006

 

I have been a photographer for four decades. I started out with my first camera in 1974, a 35mm Pentax Spotmatic film camera. Over the years, I have most often photographed natural patterns and other details in the landscape. In 1982, I acquired a 4×5 field camera, and for the next 20 years, I photographed mostly with 4×5 transparency film. I continued to concentrate on photographing landscape details as well as broad views and dramatic light.  

My intention in using a large format camera was to render Nature with great detail such that the textures and eloquent light on my subjects became extra-ordinary. Since switching to digital, I used Canon’s high-resolution DSLRs and currently use a Sony high-resolution camera, to create most of my images. No matter the tool, however, my goal has remained the same – to inspire passion for the natural world and convey my emotional response to the subjects I photograph – that of awe and wonder.

Back in 2005, I discovered a new way for me to convey such an emotional response. I give credit for this inspiration to students taking an online course I was teaching. They had picked up some blurring, or “painting with light” techniques from other instructors. I had a strong visceral response to their images. I tried it out myself and became very intrigued by the possibilities, then immersed myself in creating this new portfolio of work.

Since I was a boy, I have loved impressionistic painting. My mother was a docent at the National Art Gallery when I lived near Washington, D.C. as a teenager. I was inspired by the en plein air approach of Monet and by the pointillism of Van Gogh I viewed there. Art was one of my favorite elective courses during high school. In college, I became intrigued by the motion studies of the great color photographer Ernst Haas. Another photographer that inspired me was Freeman Patterson, who also was using camera motion as a creative technique, as well as other methods for creating impressionistic photographs. 

The motion studies seen in my Impressions of Light work are simply another way to depict the profoundly moving beauty I see in Nature. The technical aspect of sharpness or softness of focus ultimately doesn’t matter to me. 

I try all kinds of movement, up and down or sideways, starting and stopping and changing direction in the middle of the exposure. Sometimes I just jiggle the camera. It’s a learning process, a sort of feedback loop. Every frame is different. I tend to photograph in bursts of five to ten images at one shutter speed. I then watch the images come up on the LCD, so see what happened. Based on what I see, I adjust shutter speed, focal length, or my camera position or movement to refine the effect. 

How I move the camera depends on the subject. If working with a forest scene, like the Alders image, I move the camera up and down. With the Sand Dunes image, I moved laterally to the right and left. In both cases, I panned along with the major lines in the scene. With other images, like flowers or leaves, I make very small motions not sweeping motions, so that the edges are softened. This technique works for my tastes since I usually want the shapes to be “painted” but distinctive of that subject. The degree of motion varies, sometimes long sweeps up and down, then some short. If I see an area of the scene, like a bright sky or distracting object, I refrain my motion to avoid it. 

This process continues until I think I’ve created something good. I end up with dozens, and sometimes a few hundred photographs after I try all the creative options that come to mind. The LCD screen is a vital tool in reviewing my results. 

As I edit the large number of images I generate, my use of Adobe Lightroom (or any software that helps review and compare files) helps tremendously. My selection process involves rating the images that appear to have the most potential, and once I have several similar frames, I use the Compare View function. I rank my photographs as I edit and process, coming back at least many times to arrive at the final top photos. Then I begin to work with those top images in Lightroom’s Develop module and/or in Photoshop.

In terms of composing, I start with an image design and camera position that would work for me as a sharp photograph. A great joy in making these images is the freeform and spontaneous style of capturing them. Still, I am conscientious about applying the same quality of any composition I make. For example, in my Winter Forest photo, I carefully moved my position to create the spaces between the trees that are a critical design element for the image.

Since the camera is moving during the exposure, it is not possible to control precisely where objects land within the frame. Most compositional issues, such as distracting bright areas along the frame’s edge, can be corrected by responding to feedback from the LCD. Any other problems with composition can be solved in the editing process, as I make enough similar images that usually at least one works out.

The most important note on my technique is that these images are all single exposures created with camera motion only. Having seen other techniques used, such as multiple exposure methods, I find the single-exposure approach works best for the mood I wish to create. The resulting images have an organic and painterly look rather than a “digitized” look. Other methods often look heavily manipulated or Photoshopped, while my style is to work with the textures and light and color I see in my camera.

Even when I use my camera set to its low­est ISO and the lens stopped way down, there’s often still too much ambient light to permit a long enough exposure time. In that case, I use a Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter, with which I can adjust the strength of neutral density to reduce the light entering the camera by up to eight stops. This tool has greatly increased both my options in bright lightings conditions and in controlling the balance of aperture and shutter speed. For example, with my flower close-ups, I can still use a slow shutter speed even when using the widest apertures.

In my processing, I make a few minor adjustments in Photoshop, including boosting contrast lost when a scene’s brighter areas blur into darker ones. I output images with Canon’s 12-color, pigment-based printers, which have 24- and 44-inch carriage widths, respectively. I usually print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, a watercolor-style paper. This paper’s texture is very effective at accentuating the painterly feel of these images.

Around the same time I was building this series, I watched a DVD entitled Andy Goldsworthy’s Rivers & Tides. If you are not familiar with his art, I highly recommend that you check out his books and this DVD. He is dedicated to connecting with Nature, especially around his home in Scotland, and this DVD shows him at work and talking about his art. I scribbled down some notes as I watched this inspirational documentary. As I listened to him express his philosophy, I realized, in a more concrete way, what I am trying to do with my Impressions of Light series:  Remove the context; distill down to the essence, convey the energy of a subject or scene in a fresh way.

The blurring process has the effect of simplifying the landscape, much as what occurs in snowy or foggy conditions. For me, these images defect the mind’s tendency to dwell on the concrete issues of place and name when viewing a subject. The spirit of a place or an object is less objectified and can be more strongly conveyed.

 

Winter Forest, Yosemite National Park, California 2007

 

Giant Sequoias, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California 2007

 I’m trying to stretch, not just to be different but also to find new ways to express what I’ve been trying to show all along—the beauty of Nature. It may sound trite, but that’s still what motivates my photographic explorations. To both grow and survive creatively as an artist, I have found it important to push myself in new directions; in other words, to evolve. Success towards this goal cannot be achieved passively, but it must be sought out. I have tried to adhere to the concept that as an artist, one should always question one’s preconceived notions.